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Pte. Victor Reginald Shalders MM.

Australian Imperial Forces 33rd Btn.

from:Dangarsleigh, nr Armidale, NSW

Victor Shalders was a farm labourer from Dangarsleigh near Armidale NSW, he was born in Northam, nr Perth, Western Australia. He enlisted on the 13th December 1915 aged 19. he is described as being 5' 6&1/2" weighting 8st 10lb with fair hair and blue eyes.

During training he had several spells in Bulford Hospital and was also admitted to hospital in France after joining his unit.

He saw action in the Battle of Messines and was awarded the Military Medal. His citation reads: "For conspicuos bravery and devotion to duty during the Battle of Messines from June 7th to June 11th 1917. private Victor Reginald Shalders was a runner attached to Company Headquarters and by his thoughtfulness and initiative he was the greatest assistance in the collection and prompt dispatch of information throughout the action. Largely through his efforts contact was maintained with Australian HQ and the flank companies. He continually conveyed messages across the captured area under heavy shell fire. This he did always with great cheerfulness. During the latter stages of the attack he suffered severely with blistered feet, but this did not deter him from carrying on his work with the same efficiency. During the 96 hours of the occupation, he greatly assisted with the evacuation by promptly warning stretcher bearers in the area".

Pte. Shalders had further spells in hospital in France and in Feb 1918 was admitted to Boscombe Military Hospital in Hampshire, England having been treated at 53rd CCS and 54th General Hospital, suffering from Trench Fever. He rejoined the 33rd Battalion in France in August, returning to Australia in June 1919 aboard the Somali.

His two brothers, also served with the AIF, William with the 32nd Btn and Clarence with the 10th Light Horse.

Trevor Fenton

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